U.S.-Qatar Partnership Reaches New High

The United States has officially named Qatar as a major non-NATO ally (MNNA), a clear sign of closeness in bilateral relations.

Delivering on a prior pledge he made to the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, U.S. President Joe Biden in March 2022 issued a presidential declaration announcing the upgrade in the partnership between the two countries. The MNNA declaration grants Qatar special economic and military privileges.

Following in the footsteps of Kuwait and Bahrain, Qatar is now the third Arabian Gulf state to become a major U.S. non-NATO ally. Only 16 other countries have been granted that status by American presidents: Australia, Egypt, Israel, Japan, South Korea, Jordan, New Zealand, Thailand, Kuwait, Morocco, Pakistan, Bahrain, Philippines, Argentina, Afghanistan and Tunisia.

Although the MNNA does not contemplate a mutual defense clause as exists among NATO members, it does grant the designated country military and financial advantages that other countries do not possess. 

Such countries can procure U.S. military equipment, host bilateral and joint military exercises, and exchange defense expertise. Private firms in these countries can bid for contracts to maintain or repair U.S. military equipment. 

“It does open up a full new range of opportunities: exercises, operations and, you know, perhaps, the … acquisition of capabilities as well,” Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby said of the Qatar designation. 

Besides hosting the U.S. Central Command forward headquarters at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar facilitated peace talks between the U.S. government and the Taliban. Qatar then played a key role in evacuating tens of thousands of Afghans when the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan after the U.S. evacuation.
Sources: Al Jazeera, The New York Times, U.S. Department of Defense, CNN 

Comments are closed.